ESPN's Adam Schefter says that ESPN sent the 2011 story draft to the Washington GM as a step too far
ESPNs Adam Schefter said the criticism levied against him is fair, after it was revealed this week that he sent an unpublished story to Washington Football Team President Bruce Allen in 2011 for review before publishing it.
The revelation was among the emails that were collected as part of an investigation into the Washington Football Team after former employees made allegations of sexual harassment and other workplace misconduct.
The most notable, of course, were emails from former Las Vegas coach Jon Gruden, who resigned this week.
Allen and Schefter discussed a story surrounding the lockout in one of the emails.
Allen received an unpublished draft of a story from Schefter to review.
Schefter wrote, Please tell me if you see anything that should be added, changed, or tweaked, according to The Los Angeles Times. Thanks, Mr. Editor, for that and the trust. Plan to send this to ESPN about 6 am....
Via Farmer and Fenno, ESPN issued the following statement in response to that message: Without revealing all the details of the reporters process for a story from ten years ago during the NFL lockout, we believe that nothing is more important to Adam and ESPN than providing fans the most accurate, fair, and complete story possible.
Schefter issued the following statement on Wednesday afternoon:
Fair questions are being asked about my reporting style on an NFL lockout story from 10 years ago, read the statement. Just to clarify, its common practice to verify facts of a story with sources before you publish in order to be as accurate as possible, he added.
It was a rare move to provide the entire story in advance due to the complexity of the collective bargaining processes in this instance. It was a step too far and, looking back, I shouldnt have done it. The criticism being voiced is legitimate. With that being said, I want to make it clear: In no way did I, or would I ever, pass over editorial control or give up final say on a story to anyone.
Schefter first addressed the Times reporting on Wednesday morning.
Ive learned for a long time in this industry not to discuss sources, or the process, nor how stories are told, he told 97.5 The Fanatic. But Id like to point out that its a common practice to obtain information from sources, and in this particular instance, during securing tens of thousands of dollars for specialized work that was complex and difficult to understand, I took the extra rare step to get information through one of the people that I was talking to. You know, it was an important story for fans, a number of others, and thats the situation.
Mark Heim is a sports reporter for The Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter @Mark_Heim.